The Thanksgiving holiday at NSA is all about our communities, and celebrating and giving thanks to those who are such an important part of our lives. Our students had bountiful opportunities to spend time with their various communities throughout the week.
Some of our families were able to join us for a New Family Workshop, engaging in family sessions, academic workshops and parent-teacher conferences, as well as important family time together in Costa Rica.
Our families, real and extended, gathered together on Thursday to prepare and share an amazing Thanksgiving dinner.
Students also brought a little bit of the holiday to their friends at Hogar de Vida children’s home, making turkey hats for the little ones, and serving lunch to the community.
NSA is thankful for all of our communities that do so much to enrich our lives!
No other high school teaches Spanish quite like New Summit Academy! Our talented Spanish teachers, Daisy and Vianney, have worked to develop a truly unique Spanish Language program, which overlays grammatical learning objectives onto our yearly Cultural Immersion calendar.
This allows students to master Spanish grammar by studying and preparing for upcoming Cultural Immersion activities, making both their language acquisition and their cultural engagement that much richer.
Last week, students in all levels of Spanish learned about Costa Rica’s Bosque Eterno de Los Niños, Costa Rica’s largest private nature reserve, which was founded with donations made by children from 44 different nations. After learning the history of the park and relevant language skills, students spent Sunday hiking the trails and putting their new Spanish into practice!
Students continue to develop critical self-advocacy and organizational skills by being in charge of clubs and club outings at NSA.
Last month, students organized a 10k race for members of the Running Club, while the Climbing Club practiced their technical skills at an indoor rock climbing gym.
Other student clubs successfully planned day trips to a skate park in San Jose as well as Playa Esterillos for some epic surfing.
By organizing and participating in club outings in their areas of interest, students continue to develop healthy lifestyles, ownership of their processes, and an understanding that sometimes we need to put in some work to have some fun!
Professional-level certifications are a required component of the New Summit Academy program, ensuring that students experience real-world, challenging learning outside of their amazing classroom experiences.
This week, a part of our student body chose to earn their SCUBA Certifications to meet that requirement. The palm-lined beaches of Playa del Coco in northwestern Costa Rica provided the backdrop for the course. Students began the week learning the fundamentals of Open Water diving and practicing hands-on techniques in the safety of the hotel pool before putting their learning into practice in the beautiful Pacific waters.
Coral reefs teeming with schools of fish were the rewards of the students’ work and dedication, along with their Open Water certification cards!
An integral component of all facets of the New Summit Academy program is the development of student empowerment and a feeling of student ownership of their community and processes. NSA’s Student Council exemplifies one of the many opportunities that students have to advocate for themselves and develop their executive functioning skills, all while making their community a better place to live!
Students campaign for Student Council, and are voted by their peers into positions that include President, Vice President, Activities Coordinator, and Proposals Coordinator.
Once in position, the President guides his peers in choosing and scheduling weekend activities and club outings, including the very-popular Running and Climbing Clubs. Students are also involved in decisions on how to spend the quarterly student budget for community improvements, and in writing proposals for making changes or additions to the student handbook. Through these activities, students see real, positive changes in their day-to-day lives as the rewards for investment and action!
Sometimes our students need to let loose and just be kids! Recently, our guys worked with our Experiential Education department and their Student Council to plan and hold a Saturday recreational day based off of the Lord of the Rings world created by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Students worked for weeks organizing games and prizes, planning a Middle-Earth feast, and creating costumes for the culminating event: an all-school LARP (Live Action Role Play) of some of the epic battles from the trilogy. Capes, cardboard helmets, and foam pool noodle swords set the stage, and gave our students a chance to engage in some fun Middle Earth battle.
NSA celebrated another successful quarter with two graduates – both completing the program and earning high school diplomas with honors. Each graduation is a time to reflect upon student journeys and the skills they have built, relationships they have forged and strengthened, and the new and exciting options they have created for themselves through hard work and dedication. These two graduates both plan to enroll in college in the fall, and have already been accepted to some outstanding schools, including the University of Southern California, Pepperdine, Whittier, Westminster, Puget Sound, Rollins and Loyola Marymount!
After the graduation ceremony, it is time for students and staff to take a break and have some fun. This quarter, the group traveled to the Arenal Volcano region to take advantage of the natural beauty and countless recreational activities in the area. Students and staff spent the week whitewater rafting, swimming at La Fortuna waterfall, and cruising the lake under the shadow of the volcano. Everyone returned refreshed, energized and ready to begin another rewarding quarter at NSA.
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